Meridian shooting hits too close to home

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 13, 2003

Two local police chiefs paused for more than a moment Tuesday when they heard about a gunman in Meridian who opened fire and killed five co-workers.

The shootings, which occurred less than an hour from Marengo County, happened at the Lockheed Martin plant just outside of Meridian on Tuesday shortly after 9 a.m. According to media reports, Doug Williams apparently took a shotgun and semiautomatic rifle into the Mississippi plant and killed five people before turning the gun on himself.

For that matter, Avery believes publicizing all the workplace protections can have an adverse effect.

Email newsletter signup

Though details of the multiple slayings were still sketchy as of press time, media reports indicated that Doug Williams was an employee at Lockheed Martin and that he had made threats against other employees. Along with the five deaths, eight other people were sent to the hospital with at least one being in critical condition.

Linden Police Chief Jeff Laduron said the events in Meridian have made him think twice about the way he and his officers prepare for a tragedy like the one that happened Tuesday.

One of the things Laduron has considered is putting an exercise in place for his officers.

While neither Laduron nor Avery have any sure-fire advice to help businesses avoid an event like the one in Meridian on Tuesday, Laduron does believe businesses have to think twice about how they handle employees.

One of the ways the Linden police chief believes his department could better prepare itself is to have a plan in place to control crowds around the scene of a crisis.

Demopolis Mayor Austin Caldwell said he does not know of anyone from this area who works at the Lockheed Martin facility in Meridian. There are, however, numerous people from Marengo County who commute to work and shop in Meridian.

Lockheed Martin designs and manufactures some of the world’s most advance aircraft products, according to a company Web site. Among the products produced there are the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-117 Nighthawk, C-130 Hercules, P-3 Orion, C-5 Galaxy and U-2.